PLANS to turn a former pub into an 18-bedroom bedsit for vulnerable people have been met with objections from concerned residents.

Allure Developments Ltd, based in Shildon, have submitted plans to Durham County Council to refurbish and convert The North Eastern, on Clarence Street, in Spennymoor.

However, dozens of residents in the town have raised serious concerns about the application, with many referring to existing drug and alcohol issues in the area and a problem with anti-social behaviour which could negatively impact a nearby sheltered accommodation for the elderly.

A total of 58 letters have been sent to Durham County Council’s planning department regarding the application, with the overwhelming majority objecting to the plans.

The former public house and railway hotel has been out of use since December 2013 and was damaged in May this year after a bin fire spread to the building.

In a statement submitted with the application, the developer said the service/user group will be single adults aged 18+ with low to medium support needs, the facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the facility is for County Durham residents.

George Short said: “Please do not give them an approval.

“Many other uses can be applied to this property and using the former pub as a place to house people who could bring problems to the town is not appropriate.”

Neighbouring resident David McElhone said: “The site is in the wrong location being near the town centre, there is an old people’s sheltered accommodation complex immediately next door.

“The area has also had drug related issues and problems which with perseverance from the police and local groups has quietened down.”

Donna Bell, of Clyde Terrace, added: “It would be detrimental for the health and wellbeing of the people you are trying to help.

“The area has already had multiple deaths related to drink and drug abuse. There has also been a problem with antisocial behaviour.

“I think the idea to help people is a good one but feel this is the wrong place to do this.”

Visit: durham.gov.uk/find-a-planning-application and search DM/19/02500/FPA.